WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases

Countries from across the globe renew their commitments to reduce death from noncommunicable diseases

  • Date: 20 Oct 2017

The Montevideo Roadmap 2018-2020 on NCDs as a Sustainable Development Priority (pdf) was endorsed by Heads of State, Governments and Ministers from countries across the globe, as they renewed their commitments to reduce death from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by 33% by 2030, at the WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases, 18-20 October 2017, in Montevideo, Uruguay, co-hosted by WHO and the Presidency of Uruguay.

The ESMO Press Statement calls on world leaders to include cancer-specific targets in international and national NCD agendas, as well as to assure the implementation of the 2017 World Health Assembly Resolution on Cancer prevention and control in the context of an integrated approach (pdf).

Key commitments of the Montevideo Roadmap

  1. Reinvigorate political action
  2. Enable health systems to respond more effectively to NCDs
  3. Increase significantly the financing of national NCD responses and international cooperation
  4. Increase efforts to engage sectors beyond health
  5. Reinforce the role of non-State actors
  6. Seek measures to address the negative impact of products and environmental factors harmful for health and strengthen the contribution and accountability of the private sector and other non-State actors
  7. Continue relying on WHO’s leadership and key role in the global response to NCDs
  8. Act in Unity to assure that present and future generations enjoy the highest attainable standard of health and wellbeing

Why this Conference is important

NCDs are the major cause of death worldwide and kill 40 million annually. 15 of the 40 million deaths occur prematurely and affect people between 30-70 years of age, causing devastating human and economic consequences. Low- and middle-income countries bear a largest portion of the burden.

If increased action is not taken now, reaching the goal of the reducing premature mortality from NCDs by one-third by 2030 will not be achieved. The Montevideo Conference was necessary to reinvigorate political action, and to provide guidance and share success stories on how to achieve this goal.

Many premature deaths from cancer, or other NCDs, are preventable or curable if health systems respond more effectively to the needs of their populations. Countries should offer basic packages of cancer services that promote prevention, but also provide timely access to care and to essential cancer medicines. With inexpensive and easy-to-implement measures, mortality rates can be reduced already now. This, however, requires actions to be taken both within and outside of the health sector touching on environmental, fiscal, educational, and agricultural policies, among others.

Governments have already committed to achieving the goals and targets set in the 2013-2020 WHO Global Action Plan on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, which calls for a 25% reduction in premature mortality by 2025 and 80% access to the WHO lists of essential cancer medicines and priority medical devices. With the Montevideo Roadmap, they have renewed their commitment to achieve these goals and more.

The Montevideo Roadmap will guide political preparations by the WHO and the United Nations for the 3rd United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs in September 2018 in New York, where progress will be assessed based on the goals and targets set since the first United National High-Level Meeting on NCDs in 2011.

The United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals also include achieving universal health coverage, financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable, essential medicines and vaccines for all, which means leaving no one behind. Cost effective measures to detect and treat cancer exist. They should be implemented without further delay to reduce the inequalities in cancer care.

The WHO and United Nations documents give Non-state actors, like ESMO, an important role to play.  ESMO is actively supporting WHO to develop tools that will allow countries to implement the Cancer Resolution and the relevant Sustainable Development Goals which support our mission and our 2020 vision for high quality cancer care that is available and affordable to everyone everywhere.